A friend of the injured boy posted a message on his Facebook page earlier in the day that pointed to the tense environment that others said fueled the attack, saying, “we going to get them back” and “its time to return the favor.”
A Wilkes-Barre police vehicle sits outside GAR High School in Wilkes-Barre on Friday, one day after a student was severely injured in a machete attack.
A long-simmering battle for racial supremacy at a Wilkes-Barre high school precipitated the nearby machete attack Thursday that nearly cost a 15-year-old student his hand as he swung his arm to block another boy from a potentially fatally blow, according to students and parents whose children attend the school.
The attack – minutes after dismissal on a street corner across from the GAR Junior/Senior High School property – was the most brazen and visible manifestation so far of the tension between Dominican students and black students at the school. It put parents and students on edge and compelled school officials and police to dramatically increase security.
“It’s kind of scary knowing that something like this could happen,” sophomore Brandon Norbert said after school Friday, as he stood with friends at the corner of South Grant and Lehigh streets, across from where the attack occurred.
“It’s turning into the hood, basically,” he said. “The ghetto.”
No arrests were made Friday as investigators continued to interview students who may have witnessed the attack and reviewed video from a surveillance camera on a nearby light pole, a city spokesman said.
The boy in the attack, a black student originally from New Jersey, underwent eight hours of surgery Friday at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township to repair a deep wound to his wrist, his mother said. After the surgery he posted a message to friends on Facebook: “im back.”